Skip to main content

R. Weston Diaries

Identifier: MsC0117

  • Staff Only
  • Please navigate to collection organization to place requests.

Scope and Contents

The diaries of R. Weston chronicle his life and to a lesser extent the life of his wife, Ollie, during the years 1873 and 1878. In these two diaries he writes in great detail about his daily work in the shops of both the C.B.&Q. and the C.D.&M. railroads. He also mentions railroad accidents, on the job injuries, bridge washouts, staff problems, and the like.

His diaries are full of community news and gossip. He and his wife attended concerts, lyceum programs, church events, and readings. He also attended temperance meetings. Weston reported on various crimes, births, illnesses, and deaths within the community.

Much of the diaries are taken up with commentary on his personal life. His marriage was not a happy one and he was often severely depressed and suicidal. He and his wife disagreed about many things, including the people they chose as friends. She was much more social than he and her frequent absences from home and husband were a source of considerable ill-will and conflict between them.

At the end of each diary is an itemized account of expenditures and receipts for each month of the year.

Because of the detail included in these diaries, they provide a good picture of the life of a railroad worker in the Gilded Age. Not only do they provide insight into his work, but also into his social, intellectual and personal life and are open for research by both the student and scholar.


  • Creation: 1873, 1878
  • Creation: 1878


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


0.25 Linear Feet (2 diaries)

Language of Materials



Railroad mechanic. Two diaries containing details about his daily work in the shops of the C.B.&Q. and C.D.&M. railroads, community news and gossip in Dubuque, Iowa, and personal matters.

Method of Acquisition

These diaries were purchased by the University of Iowa Libraries in August 2002.

Genre / Form




Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)